Thursday, July 18, 2024

ISM Brewing scores three, Trademark one medal at the prestigious World Beer Cup


The World Beer Cup, largely seen as the globe’s most prestigious international beer competition, has bestowed four medals onto two Long Beach Breweries—DTLB’s ISM Brewing and Washington/DTLB’s Trademark—that further showcase that Long Beach’s beer scene is stronger than ever.

So what did ISM Brewing and Trademark win at the World Beer Cup?

After scoring their first medal just this past February and following that with wins at the Brewers Cup of California, ISM Brewing—the brewery that over the former Beachwood space on The Promenade in DTLB—can add three more medals to that collection from the World Beer Cup: a bronze in the Classic Saison category for its Plough & Harrow; and two golds, one for its Calf Fiend in the Coffee Beer category and one for its Western Standard Time in the West Coast-Style IPA category.

“That particular IPA category was the biggest category of the competition with the most submissions,” owner and master brewer Ian McCall said. “It’s a huge honor for us.”

The wins for ISM Brewing are also intimately attached to their space: Handing over the keys mid-2023, its former tenant—the venerable, veteran Beachwood Brewing—opted to shut down its long-loved, much-lauded DTLB brewery. And while ISM Brewing might have already built itself a reputation as both a great brewery and a great brewpub, its inaugural wins at the World Beer Cup follow Beachwood’s historic win as the Best Large Brewpub in the world in 2016. In this sense, we can only hope that ISM Brewing might just give the space its second win in that category—of course, that being as long as patronize them.

On the other hand, Trademark Brewing also won in the Coffee Beer category, scoring the bronze for its Morning Drive brew.

Owners and husband-and-wife team, Sterling and Ilana Steffen, have had a long road in the evolution of Trademark: The pair scouted the space next to the Packard Building nearly a decade ago in 2015, seeing the former auto repair shop as a future home to an open floor brewing concept where the brewing process and the drinking process are seamlessly brought together thanks to the massively open space. Come 2017, they signed a lease and come July of 2019, formally opened their doors.

While a rotating list of master brewers caused fluctuations, the patronage for Trademark and and its current stability in quality of brews have made it a local staple.

So what, exactly, is the World Beer Cup?

Over the years, there has been a seismic shift the choices consumers make when it comes to beer—leading the Brewers Association to develop the bi-annual World Beer Cup Competition in 1996 to celebrate the art and science of brewing. This global competition, per the Association, “continues to create greater consumer awareness about different beer styles and flavor profiles while promoting international brewing excellence.”

The World Beer Cup, often referred to as “The Olympics of Beer Competitions,” is the most prestigious beer competition in the world—and the U.S. absolutely dominated this year’s winner list, taking the majority of the 300-plus medals handed out across 100-plus categories with Germany in a distant second.

And yes, before you assume that 100-plus categories is ridiculous, you have to remember that this is the world of professional beer making: There are definitively separate categories for wheat beers like an American Wheat Beer and a Beligan-style Witbier, as well as over eight categories spread across the India Pale Ale style. There are awards for beer pubs, as mentioned, all divvied up by size.

It is, truly, a showcase for beer around the world—and Long Beach is a significant part of that, which obviously deserves all the applause.

ISM Brewing is located at 210 E. 3rd St. Trademark Brewing is located at 233 E. Anaheim St.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.


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